Meet Our Team

At Alpaca Culture, we are a close knit group. We work hard and care deeply about our work. Each of us has a very specific skill set but we also come together as a group well to get things done.

Meyla Bianco Johnston

Alpaca Culture Staff - Meyla Bianco Johnston

Here is Meyla and her alpaca doppelgänger.

Editor-in-chief
Meyla Bianco Johnston received her B.A. in pre-professional writing from the University of Idaho but has been enamored of writing and language since she was a child. Her lifelong interest in the written word and its power has led her to pursue a career dedicated to creative communication. Meyla’s thinking is strategic and innovative.

As Copy Editor of Alpaca Culture magazine, she has been able to bring a detailed, thoroughly researched body of work to the alpaca community at large. By working with others, she has enabled them to hone their messages for the greatest reader comprehension. With her natural attention to detail, she is able to discern what is important to a message and what is unnecessary. Meyla also greatly enjoys proofreading and editing.

Besides her working life, Meyla's creativity extends to other mediums as the mood strikes including sewing, knitting, making jewelry, cooking and other projects. She also enjoys organic gardening and particularly, growing three garlic varieties.

Jared Johnston

Alpaca Culture Staff - Jared Johnston

Here is Jared and his alpaca doppelgänger.

Editor

Jared has been working in graphic design, advertising and marketing for more than 20 years. He has been a designer for Fastline Publications, Thorne Research, Coldwater Creek, and most recently, creative director for Selle Design Group. He is uniquely able to balance a creative personality with an entrepreneurial role in business to produce beautiful work and to achieve real goals.

As Executive Editor of Alpaca Culture, Jared makes use of his extensive graphics skills, which give the streamlined, rich and beautiful magazine its unique look. His bold but personable personality and positive go-for-it attitude have made Alpaca Culture successful in just one year.

In keeping with his love of learning, Jared has added programming knowledge to his resumé, learning open source programs such as Joomla and Word Press. He believes a basic understanding of both html and php is a necessary component to understanding how design and functionality co-exist in the digital world.

He believes a well-rounded base of knowledge and experience makes the difference when innovating solutions for clients. His philosophy: “Success is achieved only when you can completely understand the problem in front of you then solve it completely by making the solution as natural feeling as possible.”

Personal interests: I am a musician currently in two bands; one acoustic and the other electric. I also enjoy most water sports, snow skiing and hiking in the mountains. Outside of working on the computer, I like working in the woodshop and building. Nothing piques my interest more than creating.

Ryan Price

Alpaca Culture Staff - Ryan Price

Here is Ryan and his alpaca doppelgänger.

Senior Production Designer

Ryan is a University of Nevada, Reno alumni with a Bachelor’s degree in digital art and a Minor in Journalism.

A connection with the wilderness is a way to keep an electronic junkie like Ryan in tune with the Earth. Skiing has always been a part of Ryan’s life. Growing up an avid skier in Northern Idaho in a family of passionate skiers helped shape his sense of adventure.

Ryan is as enthusiastic about creating artwork as he is adventuring on skis. Ryan is comfortable and well versed with a computer and the online environment. He enjoys using programs for photo editing and manipulation as well as movie making, website programing and anything else he feels allows for constant change and innovation in the realm of the imagination. Ryan is exceptionally creative and often creates stylish solutions to everyday graphic problems.

Deidré Cole

Alpaca Culture Staff - Roxie Johnston

Here is Dee and her alpaca doppelgänger.

Administrative Assistant

Dee has the unique ability to truly understand creative personalities and to assist in helping them shine. Her uncanny ability to perceive a complex situation and know the best way forward is very much appreciated at the Alpaca Culture office. Her empathetic personality allows her to see things from multiple perspectives and use the best strategy for the situation to complete the job with a smile. A mother of twin 17 year old boys and a younger son aged 14, Dee is devoted to her family. Deidre' is involved with her sons' lacrosse club and enjoys volunteering in that community. The Coles enjoy time at area lakes and mountains and raising their many pets. Dee keeps chickens who give beautiful eggs and she enjoys cooking and excellent food. The Coles are looking forward to new experiences as the boys enter college. Dee has a can-do personality and never hesitates to roll up her sleeves and pitch in. She appreciates and enjoys people and experiences and lives life to the fullest with zest.

 

Sally Balcaen


Here is Sally and her alpaca doppelgänger.

News • Proofing • Subscriptions

Sally graduated from North Idaho College with an Associate’s degree in journalism after realizing that she loved sharing facts and information with others.
Her experience with newspapers reinforced the idea of the importance of timely, accurate news.
Growing up bilingual (French and English), Sally has always had an ear for language. Writing and reading has been a part of her life since she was young.
Proofreading also comes easy to her due to her ability to focus on the small details. She loves to be helpful to the rest of her co-workers and, having been raised on soccer, is all about being a team player in the office.
When not keeping on top of political and international news and watching soccer, Sally can be found on a hiking trail, near a body of water, or maybe even in Europe, usually with a camera in hand.

Leslie Barnett


Here is Leslie and her alpaca doppelgänger.

Project Manager

Leslie studied Commercial Art at Western Kentucky University and got her BA in Graphic Design from Wichita State University. She has experience across all phases of graphic design including design, art direction, prepress, printing, bindery, print buying and project management. Having started and expanded her career in print graphics, Leslie is enthusiastic to learn more about the rapidly-expanding digital side of graphics.
After 30 years in the area, Leslie is grateful to call the Pacific Northwest home. She loves all it has to offer, including a variety of nature and sports. Reading, landscaping, bicycling, kayaking, hiking, and wildlife watching are the main activities that soothe her soul. However, to stoke her passion she turns to travel and travel research. She loves learning about and experiencing various cultures and locations. She is quite happy as a vagabond, but coming home to her Pacific Northwest sanctuary is always a welcome end to every adventure. Above and beyond her interests, her family, including her mischievous kitties, and friends make her life complete.

David Keller


Here is David and his alpaca doppelgänger.

Production Design

David graduated from Sanford-Brown College with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and an emphasis in Graphic Design.
Growing up in Colorado and traveling all over the west to ski and bike has given David a deep appreciation for life and the philosophies embedded throughout.  A subject we can all relate to and talk forever about, but to keep it simple, Albert Einstein put plainly, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
Art, utilizing all mediums, has always intrigued David.  He’s worked on numerous projects ranging from using a pen to sketch ideas to using metal stylists to scratch out images on scratchboards to the digital world of design.
Graphic design has been in David’s life since he was very young and would visit his grandfather, Steve Keller’s office to watch him work on different projects ranging from Gatorade to PRE skis and distinguished landmarks around downtown Denver.  Though he did not always pay attention as a little kid, the elements of design stuck with him, and David tries to follow in his footsteps today.

Avis Kalfsbeek


Here is Avis and her alpaca doppelgänger.

Advertising Sales

Avis studied economics at Mills College in Oakland, California and has a Wine Business MBA from Sonoma State University.  She raised her two children in the Napa Valley prior to coming to beautiful Northern Idaho.  She is amazed by the many similarities between vineyard and alpaca farm owners:  they are both hard working, hands-on farmers, producing a product that most everyone loves, with a passion for spreading the word about it!  Avis comes from a farming background and has worked in several areas of sales in her career including wine and vineyard land sales and is excited to now experience the world of alpacas.
Avis’ personal interests include hiking, cycling, skiing, yoga and creative writing.  She feels many modern stresses can be overcome with some physical exertion, a good poem and a glass of wine. Avis has a very strong desire for a dog in her life so she is elated to share the office with Roxie.

Roxie Johnston

Alpaca Culture Staff - Roxie Johnston

Here is Roxie swimming in Lake Pend Oreille and in a portrait.

Mascot and Friend

Roxie is a brown Labrador retriever who Jared was lucky to find at Panhandle Animal Shelter when she was just a pup. She provides companionship, loyalty and a great deal of sincere affection. Roxie greets everyone exuberantly with her friendly face when they arrive at the Alpaca Culture office.

Her interests include sticks, squirrels, rawhide chews and walks in the woods. She is an avid and skilled swimmer. In summer, she can often be seen swimming far out into Lake Pend Oreille or in the Pack River. Roxie is intelligent and perceptive and thoroughly enjoys a game of hide and seek or hide-the-squirrel.

She is a natural cuddler who seeks social interaction with other canines, adults and especially, young humans.

Roxie is a great asset to the Alpaca Culture team and we all care for her very much.